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Walker Stalker Germany: Highlights from ‘The King’ Panel with Khary Payton

Photo: Heather Millsap/Walker Stalker Con

Walker Stalker Convention took over Germany this weekend as cast members, both old and new, reunited at the Maimarkthalle venue.

On Saturday, the King himself, Khary Payton took to the panel stage to talk with fans about what it’s like to play King Ezekiel on The Walking Dead.  Payton told stories about how Ezekiel is inspiring fans who are going through some tough times to keep forging ahead using his now famous, “And yet I smile,” quote as their mantra.

Before King Ezekiel was spreading positivity and hope around the apocalypse, he was first introduced into The Walking Dead world in a truly royal fashion.  In what’s now an iconic scene in The Walking Dead fandom, Khary talks about how awkward it was filming his introduction with one major detail missing – Shiva!

Speaking of the King’s royal introduction, Khary tells the audience that he was also royally welcomed by his fellow cast mates when he first arrived on set.  Norman Reedus, in particular, was one of the first to welcome him to the Walking Dead family.


Known for his theatrics and eccentricities, King Ezekiel’s outfit of choice is heavy layers of clothing while in the hot Georgia sun.  Khary jokes with the audience about his character’s questionable fashion sense and asks the question that we are now all wondering, “why couldn’t he wear flip-flops?”


All joking aside, Khary spoke about the acting industry and how important it is to stay hopeful and positive.  He says, as an actor, his first job is to stay hopeful and he saw that same quality in the role of King Ezekiel.  That’s part of what drew him into playing that role.

While King Ezekiel is a shining light of hope and positivity, he’s also seen his share of hard times.  Perhaps the most difficult being the loss of his beloved Shiva.  Khary says that even his own family had a tough time dealing with her death.  He joked with the crowd saying that his own father wouldn’t speak with him after that devastating episode aired.

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 PM ET on AMC.

For more of our Walker Stalker Germany coverage head to our Twitter account for live updates and be sure to check back here throughout the weekend for all of the amazing panels and behind-the-scenes action you may have missed!

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A karaoke junkie, craft beer enthusiast and lover of all things pop culture, Denise enjoys all facets of entertainment from Broadway to box office blockbusters. In her spare time, she enjoys photography, concerts (lots and lots of concerts), volunteering, reading and playing with her rescue kitten, Samantha (who rescued who, right?). Denise currently resides in New York and is honored to be a part of the Fan Fest News team!